I know I have reviewed the FiiO E10 on this site before but I felt that since I really liked those when it came out that I should review the latest version as well. I don’t know what FiiO did to the first update to the E10 with the first Olympus model since I missed that one, but after listening to the latest version of the e10, I can say that they have got themselves another winner.

Unboxing

Before talking about the sound, let’s talk about the unboxing and setup. Opening the box, what you get is the E10k unit itself, the USB cord and some rubber feet which I automatically stuck on to the unit as soon as I saw them. Just like the older model, setup was very easy and pain free. Just plug it in to any free USB port and it works automatically with files up to 24bits and 96khz sampling rates. No installation of drivers are needed. Just like the old E10, the E10k Olympus 2 also comes with a bass boost and a gain switch as well as a line out jack and a coaxial digital pass through in case you want to convert the USB from the computer to a standard coaxial digital output. The build quality of the E10k seems about the same as the old version with only some changes in the looks due to the different placement of the bass boost and gain switches.

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Design differences

The key component difference between the older E10 and the newer E10k lies in the switch from the older warmer and musical WM8740 chip to the newer cleaner and less noisey PCM-5102 DAC chip used by the likes of Arcam. In general FiiO have been quietly moving away from the WM8740 chip which was their stock chip and house sound for for the first few years. The FiiO E18 and the X5 (also a switch to PCM) are two other examples where FiiO have ventured into new sounds and impelmentations and a sure sign of a company continually growing in confidence.The second key change is the amplification stage with a switch to the LMH6643 opamp over the older AD8397 which for me produces a more natural response with superior imaging. They do have a little less slam than the AD8397 but come across as smoother and more refined.

Click next page for sound impressions..

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  • Great review! Do you think the E10k could drive a T1 to decent volume levels?

    • donunus

      That depends on your definition of enough volume but specwise, they are only rated to drive 16 to 150 ohm headphones.

      • Good to know. Still good at the price.

  • Guest

    How does it compare to current crop of $200 thumbdrive size DACs?

    • donunus

      Unfortunately I haven’t tried any of those yet

    • I hope to get the E10k at the end of August and compare it to the Microstreamer. Hopefully the E10k will be better than the E07k that I have now.

      • headfonics

        Both use the same headphone opamp buffer.

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  • oldandcurious

    I recently bought an O2 from a local JDS distributor so I can experiment with different DACs. At the moment, with what is locally available, I am trying to decide between ALO’s The Key and the ODAC.

    Looking at the pictures in this review, am I correct that the line-out is for using the E10K simply as DAC? If so, how does this compare with the DAC side of the E07K? I do enjoy the E09K+E07K with my Grado and HD518. But I prefer my X3 as DAC on both the E09K & the O2 when I am using my HD600.

    To summarize the question, can any budget DAC really make a wide-smile of a difference in bringing out the most out of budget SS desktop amps?

  • Jamz

    Great review man!

    I’m a proud owner of the old revision (E10) and I’m paring it with the SoundMagic E10 headphone, which sounds phenomenal together.

    The SoundMagic E10 is a quite bassy yet detailed and airy phone which I value greatly!

    I’ve got a question for you regarding which revision you would rate better if ones musical taste is aimed towards EDM? Mainly Soulful Drum and Bass, but also house music and other genres.

    You stated the new E10 has less mid-bass bloat which is a good thing because at times some tunes can get smeard together due to too much mid-bass rather than sub-bass.

    Most of the time the E10 behaves phenomenally and has total control over the music. Rich, textured and just simply put musical 🙂

    I’m not a analytical guy at all and just want to enjoy the music rather than picking out details. At the same time I appreciate well produced music.

    Would you consider the E10K an upgrade over the original E10 if one is an avid EDM-listener?

    Thanks!

  • Mani

    Can please compare the DAC of both Modi and E10k? That would be great as both 24/92 capable DAC.

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